6 Tips on Applying for a Magazine Internship

Applying for an internship can be difficult, considering companies may not have a vacant position or your resume may not suit the vacant one. I've experienced both of the aforementioned situations when when applying for my own internship. It can be frustrating and a real downer. I've wondered whether I’d even get an internship or if I was doing the right thing. I’ve spent a lot of time looking up articles about internships. But one thing I failed to do is to look up ones that apply to magazine companies.
Applying for a magazine internship actually taught me lots of things, even when some of them didn’t even contact me back. That didn’t discourage me, though. 
Here, I want to share some of the things I’ve learned while applying for an internship in magazine companies. Some of these tips can also apply to any kind of company. These are only some reminders worth mentioning if you’re as clueless as I was before I sent those resumes! 

1. Find magazine companies that would suit your interests, skills, views and goals.
Prior to your internship, you should consider finding a magazine company that will be beneficial to you. A lot of articles and people suggest that when you apply to any company, you must tell the company what you can contribute to them rather than the pros or benefits you’ll get from them. But of course, it’s the goal— to choose a company that will definitely benefit you, especially if you’re an intern who needs a lot of exposure to the “real work”.
If you’re into music and go gaga over concerts and bands, consider finding a magazine company that focuses on music. If you breathe poetry, search for a magazine company that prioritizes and produces literary contents. If you’re into politics, find a magazine that shares the same views as you. If your goals are jumping to an island after the other and sharing to people how its sands feels under your feet, seek a travel magazine company.

2. Inquire. Ask if they accept interns.
Some internship advertisements on the internet are out of date. The first time I saw Rogue Magazine’s, there was no specified internship position for writers.  In fact, all internship positions were taken. I was disappointed at first because I found their magazine really captivating and promising. But I was desperate. I was persistent. So, I thought, “What if I pretend I didn’t see this ad?”
Being the actress that I am, I reached out to Rogue via their Facebook page and asked whether they accepted interns as if I didn’t just read that post of theirs. After a couple of days, they asked me to submit my resume and some writing samples to their email. I sent that question to over seven magazine companies via Facebook and email. Most of them answered me back.
So, the tip here is if you ever hear or read somewhere that the magazine company you’re pining doesn’t accept interns anymore, don’t give up just yet. Be persistent and ask them.

3. Submit your application early.
Timing actually plays a role when it comes to internships. Due to my university’s school calendar shift, my internship subject was moved for a couple months. Students from other universities who had their internships earlier than ours, of course, had taken most companies’ internship positions by the time we finished our internship prerequisite subjects. One thing I didn’t consider is to apply months early. Here’s an additional tip, though. If you apply and ever get accepted very early, inform them that you can’t start immediately. Yes, there’s a possibility that the position you get accepted in will be filled once you’re free. However, there’s also a possibility that they’ll wait for you. (If they like you and your resume.)
Applying early is better than hearing companies tell you that all positions are taken and that you should’ve applied earlier. Applying early means there’s a possibility that you’ll get a call later. (Also, some companies take weeks to reply! At least if they do call you for an interview, it’s not too late for you yet.) Take this as if you’re saving or bookmarking companies. It’s better than finding companies in a rush and compromising the required hours you need to complete for your internship.

4. Get to know the magazine.
Looking up a magazine’s Facebook page isn’t enough. Go to their website. Read their contents. Lurk around every section. Look up the editorial team. Look up their names. This move is really helpful, especially when you’re writing a cover letter or typing up an email. Usually, you need to know who to address in your cover letter or email. Sometimes, it’s specified on their website. Sometimes it’s not. Sometimes the clue is in the email address itself.
For example, the email address is: samanthafabian@lithiumagazine.com. By that you can already see that Samantha Fabian is mostly likely the person who will check your email. You can use your deep-stalking skill you possess whenever you’re six people deep from your crush’s Instagram. I suggest that you look up the person’s name and the company’s name on Google’s search bar. For example: “Samantha Fabian Lithium Magazine”.  The purpose of this strategy is to know their position in the company and to know what personal title you should address them with.
Read their magazine issues and choose your favorite one. When I was interviewed in Rogue Magazine, the interviewer asked me what my favorite issue of Rogue Magazine is. I laughed and told her the truth: I haven’t read any single issue of theirs. Thankfully, she was very nice and just laughed with me. She told me she knew how I felt. She mentioned that she was also asked that same question when she applied for a Rogue Magazine internship and had no clue what to say. (She’d only read one issue before she applied!) However, I suggest: don’t be like us! Not every interviewer is as nice as her.
Read their articles online as well. My experience in Preview Magazine was also enlightening. I discovered that their writing style in their published magazines is different from the one they use online. It’s a plus if you’re familiar with their different writing styles, especially if they ever decide to ask you to submit some writing samples.
Additionally, if they forget to mention this one, ask them what forms or papers they need you to bring before you start on the first day of your internship. (i.e: Endorsement letter, Xerox of your ID’s, 1x1 photo, etc.) Also tell them what papers you need them to fill up before you can start your internship!

5. Know the answers to questions like “Why did you choose us?”
Before you go to the interview, think of questions they will most likely ask you. Prior to my interview, I spent my time reading Rogue Magazine’s “About” on their Facebook page and trying to remember the adjectives they associate with their magazine. I kept asking myself, “Why did I choose this magazine company?” Expectedly, it’s the first question I was asked in Rogue Magazine and in Preview Magazine.
My college’s course isn’t really mainly about writing. They’re probably going to ask you something about that as well if your course is a bit unrelated to your internship. If you’re an IT student, why did you choose to be a writer in a magazine? Well, in my case, it became a plus! For example, if they see in your resume that you’re knowledgeable in Adobe applications, HTML, and CSS, and that you’re not just limited to writing, you’ll have a better chance.

6. Additional tip on the interview: for people living in countries that use English as a second language.
I live in the Philippines and speak two languages: Filipino and English. Here, it’s a plus if you speak English in interviews, which, sometimes, makes the interviews a bit more intimidating. Interviews can be nerve-racking and can unleash your Super Awkward side. I remember when I was on my interview for Preview Magazine, the managing editor, who was the one interviewing me, assured me that it’s okay if I speak Filipino. Perhaps, she’d noticed that I was more tense using the English language. Looking back, I think I really was!
So what I’ve learned is that it’s okay to use your native language on the interview— IF:
1. English language makes you constantly stutter and makes it hard for you to explain things properly.
2. The interviewer understands your native language.
  • How to be sneaky: speak some native words and observe what their reactions will be. If they do understand you, they’ll just let you continue. If they don’t, then they’ll probably tell you. And if they prefer you to speak English, even if they do understand Filipino, then use English.

So, these are the things that I’ve learned (and could remember) from applying in magazine companies— tips I wanted to highlight and share. I hope some (if not all) of these help you! If you have any internship experiences and want to add more tips, just comment them down below! You never know who might need it!

Text by Samantha Fabian and Visuals by Ry X and Kathryn Zix